Charges: Drunken driver told victim 'you're fine,' advised witnesses not to call 911 after Rice Lake crash
A 68-year-old woman is in intensive care after being struck by a motorist who had been drinking at a nearby bar, according to court documents.
A Superior man accused of striking a Rice Lake pedestrian while intoxicated on Tuesday allegedly told the seriously injured victim that she was "fine" and discouraged passersby from calling 911.
Several fellow motorists told deputies that they saw Kyle Byron Lindquist trying to help Virginia Berger, 68, to her feet and dragging her off the road before he fled on foot, according to a criminal complaint filed in State District Court in Duluth.
Authorities said Berger suffered a broken left and right pelvis, brain bleed, fractured scapula and a torn ACL when she was struck by a Buick Enclave driven by Lindquist shortly before 4:30 p.m. on the 5000 block of Arnold Road. She remained in intensive care as of late Thursday.
Lindquist, 33, of Superior, has a history of drunken driving offenses and was apprehended a short distance away. He was arraigned Friday on a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation and a misdemeanor count of violating a limited license.
According to the complaint:
A witness told St. Louis County sheriff's deputies that he was driving south on Arnold Road when he came upon vehicle parts scattered in the roadway. He also saw a scarf in the road, along with the Buick crashed into the ditch.
The motorist told authorities he then saw a bald man standing in the road near an elderly woman, attempting to assist her to her feet. He said he heard the man tell the victim "you're fine" and 'you're OK," but the bloodied woman was unable to stand.
Another driver told police she came upon the crash scene and recognized Berger as a woman who lives in her neighborhood and walks daily. She said she saw the victim lying in the middle of the road before the suspect emerged from the ditch and picked her up.
The woman told police Lindquist was "flopping" her around and that she yelled for him to put her down. The suspect allegedly responded, "You don't need to call 911. Just leave us alone; she's fine."
Other passersby also stopped and one convinced Lindquist to put Berger down. He then fled on foot toward Martin Road.
Two deputies gave pursuit down a snowmobile trail and arrested Lindquist, noting he smelled of alcohol, was unsteady on his feet and had bloodshot, watery eyes. A blood sample was taken pursuant to a search warrant; results were still pending.
Investigators said they learned Lindquist had been at nearby Billy's Bar from 2-3:30 p.m., drinking three beers and two shots of bourbon.
Lindquist's driver's license is limited and subject to cancellation upon any consumption of alcohol. He is also prohibited from driving any vehicle without an ignition interlock device.
He was previously convicted of impaired driving in 2005 and 2009 and has several convictions for controlled substance crimes. He is currently on federal parole after receiving a nine-year prison term for possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine in 2013.
St. Louis County prosecutor Michael Hagley said Lindquist has been cited for three violations of the interlock requirement since last May, calling him a "significant risk to public safety."
"The fact the defendant has had recent violations of the ignition interlock restrictions, intentionally operated a vehicle without ignition interlock on the day in question and violated his parole conditions by consuming alcohol is indicative of a blatant disregard for the authority of the courts and the laws of the state of Minnesota," Hagley told the court.
Judge David Johnson set bail at $100,000, granting Hagley's request to deny any supervised release.
Lindquist is scheduled to be back in court March 23.